Mere Links 10.23.14
Thursday, October 23, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Bishops’ Fateful Decision Respecting the Unborn
Mark Gallagher, Crisis Magazine

This required the election of presidents who would nominate Supreme Court justices not interested in creating constitutional rights to legal abortion, and the election of pro-life members of Congress to confirm the justices, and to propose a constitutional amendment. Elections were the key. How were the bishops to proceed?

Archbishop of York ‘wholehearted’ apology to abuse victims
Caroline Wyatt, BBC

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has apologised to victims of sexual abuse by a former cathedral dean.

70 Years Ago Today: The Conversion of J. I. Packer
Justin Taylor, The Gospel Coalition

He entered the doors of the church a dead man walking and was to leave later that night as a resurrected man, knowing himself to belong to Christ.

Unicef: Violence kills child every five minutes

A child is killed by violence every five minutes in the world, a leading charity says, calling for new targets to end all forms of abuse by 2030.

Mere Links 10.22.14
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 10:00 AM

Francis Must Correct Synod Distortions
Dr. William Oddie, Crisis Magazine

The presentation of the so-called “mid-term report” of the extraordinary synod of bishops on the family (the Latin headline of which, relatio post disceptationem, may seem to the unenlightened to give it an authority it doesn’t in fact possess) aroused a predictable level of interest in both the Catholic and the non-Catholic media.

China’s One-Child Policy: Massive Crimes against Women, Supported by the Obama Administration
Chris Smith, Public Discourse

Under the Obama Administration, the United States is breaking its own law by giving taxpayer money to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports the One-Child Policy. It is also failing to implement immigration and visa bans for those who have been complicit in forced abortions and sterilizations.

Razed by Terror Attacks, a Church Will Rise Anew
Alex Vadukul, New York Times

Thirteen years ago, a small Greek Orthodox church with a ringing rooftop bell offered a reprieve from the city’s furious financial nerve center, until it was crushed when the World Trade Center’s south tower collapsed on Sept. 11. On Saturday, church officials blessed the ground where the new St. Nicholas church would rise.

Pope Francis Beatifies an Earlier Reformer, Paul VI
Elisabetta Povoledo, New York Times

Pope Francis on Sunday beatified Pope Paul VI, who died in 1978 after shepherding the church through a period of internal reform amid an era of social and political change and growing challenges to the church’s traditional teachings.

Mere Links 10.21.14
Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Vatican Backpedals on Support for Gays and Divorcees
Allen McDuffee, The Atlantic

A much-discussed report from the Catholic Church’s synod on the family turned out to be very different in its final form.

When a Pastor Resigns Abruptly
John Ortberg, Leadership Journal

Yesterday a well-known pastor resigned from a high-profile church. I don’t know enough about that situation to comment on it one way or another. But I find myself—as many of us will today—reflecting on my own life, and on the state of our little evangelical world.

Transgenders and Theology
Judy Valente, PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

We report from Chicago on how churches are responding to transgender people, especially as they become more and more visible in popular culture. At the Urban Village Church in Hyde Park, Rev. Emily McGinley’s ministry reaches out to transgender individuals.

Houston Narrows Subpoenas, But Pastors Say Not Enough
Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

The city of Houston, Texas announced yesterday that it has filed narrowed subpoenas against five pastors in a lawsuit against it challenging rejection of referendum petition signatures. At issue is an attempt by opponents of the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance to obtain its repeal.

Govt tells Christian ministers: Perform same-sex weddings or face jail, fines
Monday, October 20, 2014, 10:24 AM

tank ma Govt tells Christian ministers: Perform same sex weddings or face jail, finesLately, the atheist Left is showing every sign of believing it has won the Culture Wars by ratcheting up the consequences of heresy to an increasingly painful degree.  Make no mistake: Secularism is a competing religion.  The only thing currently standing between the individual and the dehumanizing utilitarianism of the secular state is the Church. If the state of Idaho wins, it is another step in the rapid criminalization of our faith.

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Now would be a good time to donate to the Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF is also taking point in the battle against the egregious subpoenas issued by the city of Houston to five clerics, asserting an imaginary and unconstitutional power to censor the content of their sermons. It is not a time to be passive; it is time to act.

Mere Links 10.20.14
Monday, October 20, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Army Hidden in the World
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

If the true identity of Christ our Lord, his inner Person begotten of the Father, remains a mystery concealed from the world (John 14:22Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)), something similar is also said rightly of those who put their hope in Christ, because they too are defined by their communion with the Father in Christ.

In Alabama, the religiously ‘unaffiliated’ now surpasses this major religious group
Carol McPhail,

The percentage of Alabamians not affiliated with a specific religion surpasses the percentage of white mainline Protestants, ranking it third among “religious” groups, according to new research.

Of Michael Landon and Brittany Maynard
Wesley J. Smith, First Things

The changing meaning of courage in the face of pending death.

What Christians Should Know About the Ebola Crisis
Dr. Miguel Núñez, The Gospel Coalition

Last Wednesday, the world awoke to the news that Erick Thomas Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, had died of the disease.

A Christian of Integrity Resigns His Office
Monday, October 20, 2014, 9:35 AM

John Kallam, Jr., is a Rockingham County, North Carolina, magistrate.  The county is referred to as “North Carolina’s North Star.”  In North Carolina, magistrates typically adjudicate smaller legal cases and conduct preliminary matters in criminal cases, such as setting bail.  Magistrates also conduct civil marriages.  One of the shining stars of this county is Magistrate Kallam, who is a devout Christian believer.  Late last week, Magistrate Kallam resigned his office because he did not wish to violate his oath, and “marry” homosexual and lesbian couples as such “marriages” are now permitted in North Carolina.  In his resignation letter to Chief District Judge Fred Wilkins, Magistrate Kallam wrote the following in pertinent part:

It is with deep regret that I must inform you of my intent to resign from my current position as Magistrate effective 31 October 2014.  It is my intent to use my remaining administrative days for the remainder of this month.  When I took my oath of office, I understood I would be required to perform weddings and have done so throughout my tenure.  I did not however take that oath with any understanding that I would be required to marry same sex couples.  It is my personal belief and a position of my Christian faith that doing so would desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself.  Since performing marriages is an integral part of being a Magistrate and in light of recent changes in North Carolina law. I can no longer fulfill my oath of office in good faith.

Emphasis added.  The Honorable Judge Wilkins said that Magistrate Kallam is “a good honorable man and a good man who stuck by his convictions.”  Notwithstanding the gracious words of Judge Wilkins, he went on to say that if Magistrate Kallam refused to “marry” homosexual or lesbian couples, then he would be suspended.

Magistrate Kallam’s resignation merits deep respect and admiration.  It often seems that there are few Christians in modern-day America who are willing to take a principled, moral stand that affects their professional standing and livelihood.  Far too often, American Christians, particularly as compared to Christians in other countries who face daily persecution and violence against them, simply go along to get along, and avoid rocking the boat.  I don’t say that to impugn an improper motive; rather in our politically correct world, American Christians are often intimidated not to speak.  And as has been observed by many, such intimidation is accomplished because Christians are often not informed and are uncomfortable with these issues.  After all, no Christian wants to be seen as a “hater.”  In Magistrate Kallam’s resignation letter, he concludes powerfully:

I am reminded of the last words of David who said, “He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”  Where there is no “fear of God,” there can be no justice!”

Homosexualists and other evildoers have long sought to silence Christians who have stood courageously against what Jesus described as unbelieving and perverse generations.  Ancient sources tell us that the Roman Emperor Nero, who sent St. Peter and St. Paul, and many other now-unknown Christians, to their martyrdom, was “married” to two men, Sporus and Pythagoras.  Please pray for Magistrate Kallam and his family as he begins a new stage of his life on November 1, but let us thank God for his Christian witness, strength, and courage.  He is truly a shining, bright light in North Carolina’s North Star.  May God continue to bless you richly, Magistrate Kallam.

Feast of St Luke the Apostle
Sunday, October 19, 2014, 7:00 AM

The Passion According to St. Luke – Bach

The Catholic church celebrates St Luke the Apostle on October 18.

Sacred Music – Part Four
Saturday, October 18, 2014, 12:00 PM

Last of four episodes of the BBC’s series on Sacred Music.
Bach and the Lutheran Legacy

From the New Issue of Touchstone–Nov/Dec 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014, 12:33 PM

The next issue of Touchstone is back from the printer and will be mailing out soon. One of the editorials from this issue is a follow-up to a piece from last year. This–as well as some other articles from the new issue–is now available to read online.

Screen Shot 2014 10 17 at 12.29.29 PM 222x300 From the New Issue of Touchstone  Nov/Dec 2014Identity Thievery

In Christ All Sinners Are Truly Made New
by S. M. Hutchens & Anthony Esolen

In the July/August 2013 issue of Touchstone, the editors rejected the idea that one could be both “gay” and Christian. The basis of that belief, we said, is exemplified in St. Paul’s assurance to the Corinthian church that what some of its believers used to be—and here he recited a catalog of sins that included arsenokoitai (“sexual perverts”)—they no longer were, because they had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God. (There is no creditable reason to believe that St. Paul’s reference here was so narrow that it only applied to those who frequented cult prostitutes in pagan temples, as if homosexual relations occurring in any other venue (cf. Rom. 1) were in his mind categorically different.)

Continue reading. . . .


Mere Links 10.17.14
Friday, October 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

Cardinal is “Appalled,” Denies Africa Comments Caught on Tape
Matthew Schmitz, First Things

In an interview published yesterday, Cardinal Walter Kasper—the leading voice calling for liberalizing Catholic practice at the Church’s current synod—described African attitudes toward homosexuality as a “taboo” and said that Africans “should not tell us too much what we have to do.”

Why Are Young Blacks Leaving the Church?
Anthony Carter, 9Marks Blog

Are “black millennials” leaving the church? Is this something about which we should be alarmed? In recent times much has been written on this subject seeking to interpret and analyze what some are saying is a disturbing trend.

Damnatio Memoria? The Council of Trent and Catholic Teaching on Divorce
E. Christian Brugger, Public Discourse

Some theologians claim that the Council of Trent lends support to the idea that the Catholic Church could accept divorce and remarriage. Careful scholarship reveals that this is not true.

How Boko Haram’s Murders and Kidnappings Are Changing Nigeria’s Churches
Interview by Timothy C. Morgan, Christianity Today

Leading Nigerian evangelical says Christians won’t abandon the North.

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